Business Savvy, growing your business, Marketing

TOP 10 Benefits in Joining Your Chamber of Commerce

As a business owner, there are many benefits to joining your local Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of a Chamber is to provide educational and networking opportunities and to help businesses participate in community events which will help expand the local business economy.

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But here is a warning. You can’t just simply join the chamber and expect magical things to happen overnight. You will only get out of your membership what you actually put into it. Which means as a member you need to participate. Your participation in your chamber actually impacts the overall success of the chamber as an organization but also that of your community.

TOP 10 Benefits in Joining Your Chamber

  1. Discounts – You can receive discounts on everything from ski passes, office supply purchases, travel, shipping services, gym memberships, prescriptions, health and wellness, media advertising, and more.
  2. Services – Generally include access to business publications, roundtable discussions, industry briefings, magazines, programs,  leadership opportunities, business resources and more.
  3. Partnerships – Provide you with an opportunity to partner with other members, businesses, groups, and organizations to successfully grow and network your company and it’s offerings.
  4. Marketing and Advertising – Many times you’ll be offered discounted or free advertising once you become a member along with opportunities to have a link on the chamber website. Chambers offer a tremendous amount of advertising and marketing for businesses.
  5. Advocacy – Your chamber and the leaders within your community work together to advocate on behalf of the business community helping to protect your business and provide additional growth opportunities and incentives.
  6. Education and Training – Seminars, business workshops, webinars, small business resource events and more. You can find training on topics like a business startup, financing, human relations, insurance, payroll, QuickBooks, leadership, marketing, social media, taxes, employee engagement, and more.
  7. Economic Development – Your chamber is highly involved in growing your local community and therefore generally works with other organizations to increase the local economy and bring additional businesses into your community.
  8. Database and Leads – Chambers usually provide a membership list to members, which can be used to help market your business and services to other members. Larger chambers generally offer a leads group to help businesses find and gather solid quality leads.
  9. Events – Annual events like a chili cook-off, fall festival, BBQ, Rodeo, gala, awards ceremony, business after hours, open houses, concerts, and more. These are all terrific places to meet and great, rub elbows with fellow business professionals, and spread the word about your business. These are great marketing events too.
  10. Networking – I saved the best for last. This is the core component of any chamber and truthfully any business. The saying goes, “it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you”. Take advantage of as many events and opportunities as you can through your local chamber. The chamber is for your benefit and sometimes you have to stop working in your business, and actually make time to work ON your business.

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So get out there, get those business cards and flyers ready, test the 30-second elevator speech and most importantly make time and INVEST in your business. Your chamber membership is generally a tax write off and it’s a wise investment to help grow your business.

 

 

Tina Holtz is a serial entrepeneur who owns and operates a boutique virtual assisting and business advisory firm, Executive Business Services, LLC. She has more than 20 years experience in business development, business management, operations, sales, marketing, and procurement. Tina values building relationships and is passionate about helping business owners reach new heights. She provides a vast array of support services to business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, and executives.

 970-989-8047 or email at tina@execbusinessservices.com

www.execbusinessservices.com

Marketing

Advertising vs. Marketing

Typical advertising mail
Typical advertising mail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is there a difference between advertising and marketing? I believe that there is.

Here’s why. When you advertise you’re branding your business and putting it out there to create a buzz about who you are and what you do. When you market your business, you’re actually promoting your business and nurturing prospective leads and clients, the brand awareness already exists. You can’t market before you advertise. You have to ensure that you targeting the right audience which requires a lot of thought and research. Too often someone opens a business and just expects that business will just automatically roll through the doors. It takes investment of both time and money to make a business a real success.

Throughout my years of experience in the business world, I have seen several businesses fail at  implementing a solid advertising and marketing campaign. Unfortunately business growth can be slowed or diminished when such a campaign is not integrated with a business plan.

The most important aspect of any campaign is knowing who your target market is and where they spend their time learning about your business. For instance, if you’re a local auto dealer, you need to determine who your prospects are and where you should spend dollars in order for them to effectively find you. Local newspapers and direct mail tend to be some of the best solutions for a business of this nature. If you’re an international business however, a local newspaper is not going to work for you. Your advertising might be better through online alternatives and trade shows, as well as international magazine publications. Again, knowing your audience is the most important objective.

Advertising is a needed investment among businesses. Many owners and managers see it as an un-nesccessary expense. This could not be farther from the truth. Advertising in my opinion, should be seen as a business investment. Your goal should be to invest a certain dollar amount to achieve a certain return on that investment. You shouldn’t just spend money on advertising just because. You need to ensure that it works and provides the return you seek. Another important aspect of advertising is to ensure that you track and measure the outcomes of each campaign. This will provide feedback for what works and what doesn’t. Be sure to change your campaigns to fit the needs of your business.

So then what is marketing and where does it fit in the grand scheme of things? Marketing is essentially used after you have implemented a successful advertising campaign and your audience understands your solutions, who you are, and what you do. Marketing is basically keeping your business alive among your audience. You engage on a regular basis, whether it be in local charity events, business events, your local chamber of commerce, trade publications, trade shows, websites, blogs, social media etc. You are maintaining your existence in the business arena.

I have seen some business owners who spend $600 one month, wait for a miracle of new business to come through their door and when it doesn’t, they say advertising didn’t work. Unfortunately their right. You can’t advertise once and expect a result. Statistically it is stated that it takes an average of 5-7 times for a prospect to see your ad or information before they engage to make a purchase or contact. Which means you need to be prepared for the long haul. Be sure to really make an investment in your advertising and marketing campaigns. Success will come when a plan is implemented properly.

Be sure to always include an advertising and marketing campaign within your business plan. If you don’t have one, begin making plans to implement one immediately.

Best of Luck!

Miss Executive, Tina Holtz